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Photography, Typography

Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides. – Lao Tzu

Inspirational quotes series: #005

Another addition to the inspirational poster collection of mine. This time with photography and type, not type alone. Self initiated projects are valuable to keep skill sets alive and force yourself to produce. It is easy to get caught up in all the other aspects of running a photography business that you stop shooting for yourself. I have been there and done that. Hence the projects. It is my second time at running a full-time photography business. First time straight after ending my apprenticeship. 3 years of studying on the job. I had already shot quite a few jobs for the studio and thought I had the drive and skills to set up.

First knock, agencies are vary of any newcomers as they want to know that you can pull it off. They prefer working with established ones as they would hate explaining why a re-shoot is needed.

Second knock, credentials are important even though nobody will ask for your diploma. I was competing as an advertising photographer against others that spent their time studying abroad before setting up back home. Even the ones that had gone through apprenticeships before me.

Needless to say, most of my energy went to seek new work, creating opportunities and working mainly editorial and doing regular go-see’s with new work to the agencies. A few years on my own I packed up my bags, left for England, as I had been accepted first at Surrey and then due to personal reasons changed to KIAD. The course at KIAD was brand new, specialised in advertising photography. The tutors told me that I was a bit unlucky as I should have been placed straight into the second year and not the first, as it was simply too basic.

However, I met some wonderful people that I enjoyed spending time with and solve photography projects. Merlin Hendy, Richard Sainsbury, Daniele Melgiovanni and Peder Songedal. Merlin is a brilliant dance photographer, Richard got represented by Photonica while in school, Daniele is part of one of London’s biggest studios and Peder has become a Canon Master in Norway.

KIAD only taught me two things that I didn’t already know. Split tone printing and the graphic design classes. I loved the latter ones. Something new and creative. I liked it. I wanted to learn more than only the two hours a week we had. Another fellow Norwegian from my home town had studied graphic design in London and had highly recommended his school.

As I normally do when I am about to set out for something new, I research. I asked the graphic design tutor at KIAD what schools she would recommend. I was given a brief list. Then I asked about the school that my friend recommended. “You will never get into that. That’s the best one.”

Determination. You will need it in any business you want to succeed. If you don’t want it, somebody else will. I managed to schedule an interview with the design school. Brought my photography portfolio and my humble attempt at graphic design. I met Andrew. I showed him my work. The graphic work was rubbish, almost thrown away immediately. Photography work hold interest. Then my story. Why I wanted this. Why I was here. Why he should give me a chance. I walked away with the brightest smile ever. I was accepted at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design.

I had to change school midterm. I had to get refund from the other school. I was the first Norwegian student to ever have done a transfer midterm. All the paperwork and money lost in fees as I did not get a full refund. It all didn’t matter. I was where I wanted to be. I was an oddball. That’s why I got accepted. I found out from my tutors later that that was how I were described to them. The oddball from Norway.

I had two options. I could breeze through the design course by solving briefs the photography way or I could pick the hardest challenge and get to understand type and typography. I got my hands dirty in the basement of Southampton Row setting type by hand. Letterpress printing. Same way you will never understand dodging and burning in Photoshop if you haven’t tried it for yourself in the darkroom. Not that I will make you necessarily better, but you will have a better understanding about the craft. I got to understand the logic behind the tools in QuarkXpress. Before everybody changed to InDesign.

Dual background. Design and photography. Need to fuel both passions. Inspirational quotes project helps. Enjoy the series as it develops.

Life’s too short to not be doing what you love doing.

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Photography

Music, fashion and passion

Kari Rueslåtten

It’s super. Music, fashion and passion. Super 8. Kari brought the music and it is absolutely worth listening to “Other people’s stories”.  Photographed at Ramsgate beach, England. It was a long train ride, something that you end up missing living here in Vietnam. Trains are simply the best of public transport, as long as there are no leaves on the track or other delay reasons. Getting a seat, enjoy a conversation or simply read books for an hour (or more) and then you are there.

Compare that to riding a motorbike on the streets of Saigon, having to keep track on every single movement as nobody cares to use their rearview mirrors or even turn and look behind. Motorbike or even bike riders that could easily have put any kamikaze pilot to shame will come out from small alleyways and be in front of you before you know it. Blink and you collide. Look somewhere else and you collide. Be paranoid and expect anything can appear in front of you and you stay safe. I rather read a book on a train.

Kari Rueslåtten

Also captured on the super 8 was one of the earliest collections of fashion designer Siv Støldal.

Fashion on Super 8

Fashion on Super 8

Fashion on Super 8

Fashion on Super 8

Photographed in Avondale Road, close to Green Lanes in London. Green Lanes is a Greek and Turkish area of London, with freshly baked bread in quite a few varieties and the same for hummus and olives. Great place for food.

However, I must admit a fondness now for Vietnamese food after spending close to a decade here already. Time really flies. Too fast. Music on. Time for more captures. Here we go. Passion!

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Photography

London Calling (with Tales from the Past)

“London calling to the faraway towns

Now that war is declared-and battle come down

London calling to the underworld

Come out of the cupboard, all you boys and girls

London calling, now don’t look at us

All that phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust

London calling, see we ain’t got no swing

‘Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing”

The Clash, 1979 (Strummer/Jones)

London is a fascinating city. Most people end up either loving it or hating it. I simply love it. Spending five years in the city was a great experience. Three years spent studying at Saint Martin’s, two years working. The majority of photography work I did at that time was mostly editorial, with emphasis on London’s music scene. Sverre Ole Drønen, aka droneland, a brilliant music journalist and fellow Norwegian, teamed up and we produced editorial content for Norwegian magazines and newspapers.

Concert photography still have the same rules, images for the first three songs, no flash. That’s it. For the interviews, keep gear to a minimum as we never knew exactly how much time we would get. An assigned 30 minutes slot could easily be reduced to 5 minutes if they where behind schedule.

All images in this post have been photographed with analogue film and scanned on a film scanner. The films where pushed to the limits, (Push processing) to be able to photograph in low light without the use of flash.

Bill Wyman photographed at his restaurant in London.

Henry Rollins, photographed at his hotel room in Long Acre, London.

Tricky at concert in London.

Supergrass, interviewed in London.

Leftfield interviewed in London.

Erasure interviewed at their house in London.

Erasure interviewed at their house in London.

Runaways, photographed after they left their seats.

Motorhead in London.

Lemmy from Motorhead.

High Llamas interviewed in London.

Dr. John interviewed in London.

Ben Christophers arriving to the interview in London.

Kasey Chambers in London.

Ninja Tune interviewed in London.

Sheik Loch interviewed in London.

Kristin Hersh photographed at the backroom of Borders, Oxford Street, after a live performance.

Mr Al.

Melt Banana live in London.

Max Tundra photographed inside his car after the interview in London.

Jill Scott interviewed in London.

Jackie Leven photographed at the airport, only opportunity available.

North Mississippi Allstars before concert in London.

Jazz Cafe live in London.

Jazz Cafe live in London.

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